Discrimination: Rights and Consequences

There has been a great deal of jabs thrown about a bill recently passed by the Arizona state legislature that is intended to protect freedom of religion or enshrine discrimination against gays, depending on your position. The bill, called “SB1062” (or AB 1062, the assembly version) in the typical fashion of laws, is short by most legislative statutes and attempts to expand the state’s definition of free exercise of religion to include economic activities, or more specifically, the denial thereof. Though no specific mention of LGBT categories of persons are made, both proponents and opponents of the law have made…

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A Visual Guide to Identifying Genetically Modified Dogs

The above is a takeoff of a Facebook page’s “A Visual Guide to Genetically Modified Corn,” found here:IFLS People are often very misled about what “genetically modified” means. Man has been altering life-forms to suit his needs for thousands and thousands of years through the mechanisms of selective breeding, hybrids, and only lately through direct modification of code.Corn is a great example of this. It’s nature-made predecessor looks nothing like it. The ears are tiny and unusable; the casings of the kernels are thick and chewy. This makes sense for a natural plant, which seeks to spread its seeds, not provide…

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Minimum Wage: Moral, Amoral, and Practical Arguments; Ad Hominem Non-Arguments.

The minimum wage as a political issue has long been a dangerous one to oppose. Recent trends have included phrases such as “living wage” in addition to a minimum, though the sentiments are much the same as they were when the minimum wage was first enacted back in 1933 (a law the Supreme Court later found unconstitutional). Proponents of wage controls generally make moral arguments, primarily that wages should reflect some correlation to the cost of living at some level of affluence, and that failing to pay such a wage was an immoral act. Opponents, however, tend to focus on…

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Prometheus Weeps

     Prometheus charged Olympus and stole the fire. He brought it to his creation, man, to help him in a cold, dark, and deadly world. When man was handed the flame, he looked upon it, beautiful and bright. It lit the world around him, and at last he could see his surroundings. There were frightening sights, of sharp rocks and strange beasts, and trees that loomed over him like monsters.      Man threw the fire into the mud. He crushed the torch with his heel.      “Why did you do that?” Prometheus asked, trying to gather the…

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Inequality in America

I’ve seen the above video linked quite a bit on social networks during the recent past, and while I don’t usually stop to pick up every pebble in the road, I felt a little compulsion to do so with this bit of misinformation today. I don’t have time to debunk the many, many problems in this video, so I’ll just hit the big points. The first and most important is the sources, which are not sources of actual data, and he mixes them inappropriately, producing a graphic that is factually inaccurate. He also mixes the terms “money,” “wealth,” and “income”…

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Future Crime: The Moral Difficulties of Indeterminate Consequentialism

http://youtu.be/wEkIJb12GVA Above is a video I made as a companion to this piece for those who prefer speaking and video to reading. The content covers the same rough areas but is spoken in different words. The essay begins below.             “Future crime” is not a term of my own making; it’s one I lifted from the Spielberg movie “Minority Report,” which was based on a Phillip Dick story of the same name. In it, there are three mutants who are able to see the future, specifically murders, which are most disturbing to them. The police react to these visions by…

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Who should control the content of school curriculum?

I’ve been having to narrow my focus a bit lately due to a severely impacted schedule. Working full time, writing full time, and going to school full time is not as easy as it sounds. I also have a big trial coming up, and I’m not expecting that to loosen up my schedule either. I’ve been working on a very large narrative, some 230,000 words and growing, and I decided I would really like to finish it this year. That has meant putting other things, including this blog, on the back burner. Nevertheless, I will attempt to keep updates coming,…

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A Gross Oversimplification of Monetary Theory Through Hypothetical Monetary Systems

Monetary theory: everyone’s favorite dinner topic? Probably not. Monetary theory can seem complicated to a non-economist, and even when it is understood by parties over dinner, it is likely to fall into the two most forbidden categories of conversation: religion and politics. I realize writing this that I am probably a terrible dinner party guest, an incorrigible lunch time acquaintance, and a downright nuisance at family functions, because religion and politics is the only thing I really prefer to talk about. Well, from my perspective it’s philosophy and truth, and I consider politics merely the game of sociopaths and the…

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A Little Bit on Anecdotes

I came across a plea today on Facebook, asking for people to send to a particular individual stories about the negative impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially called “Obamacare,” for the president who signed it into law.  I pointed out that anecdotes are not good evidence, and I had objections to their use as such, since I feel it is emotionally manipulative and therefore not totally truthful.  I was met by a lot of opinions counter to my own. The arguments were fairly varied, there were some ad hominem attacks, but most seemed to take my use of…

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More Words That Emanate From the Hindquarters of Male (Genetically Modified) Cattle

1. GMO/Monsanto/etc.  Let’s be honest, most people who post on Facebook about Monsanto (you know who you are) have no flipping clue what they are talking about; they’ve never set foot on a farm and have no concept of how the food industry works. They have probably never seen a live domesticated chicken (hint: was it white?), or have no idea what the fertilization process of corn is. Unless you eat exclusively wild game, all the food you eat is genetically modified.  ALL OF IT.  Cows didn’t just evolve into oversized meat-bags producing an excess of milk.  Those phenotypes were carefully…

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